APASSIONATA The Beginning, the Most Epic of Equestrian Shows, at IZOD Center
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The last date listed for APASSIONATA The Beginning was Sunday June 3, 2012 / 3:00pm.
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The five riding teams (equips) and their disciplines include:
*Equipe Luis Valença *
The reputation of the legendary Portuguese riding master and grand master of the Portuguese School of the Art of Riding precedes him worldwide. Chef d’equipe Luis Valença has devoted his life entirely to the training of Lusitano horses and unusual riding talents. Accomplished in classical riding, he showcases all facets of high school dressage together with his daughters Filipa and Sofia and his thoroughbred stallions. Irrespective of whether they are being led or ridden, Valença’s horses have mastered to perfection various riding styles including Iberian Quadrille and Garrocha, which will be reflected in their riders’ brilliant skills.
*Equipe Sylvie Willms *
Sylvie Willms’ passion for horses was instilled in her as a child, as the Willms family has been devoted to the training and art of riding of thoroughbred horses for more than 300 years. Sylvie’s father, Alex Willms, is known as a horse trainer well beyond the borders of Belgium and France, where he handcrafts exclusive saddles and snaffles from the finest materials for select clients. Her mother, Celine, was a successful rider for the Belgium national team participating in the Grand Prix and impressed Queen Elizabeth with a breathtaking dressage display on the occasion of the 50th anniversary of her acceding to the throne. Known across Europe as “the horse whisperer,” Sylvie began riding at an early age and has been part of the APASSIONATA family since 2003 where she captivates the audience with her magical liberty dressage and Friesian quadrille. When the Willms family is not touring, they train horses for film productions on their estate in Burgundy, France.
*Equipe Laurent Jahan *
In a country known for its inimitable emotional and theatrical showcasing of horse extravaganzas, Laurent Jahan is one of France’s most talented equestrians, whose acting ability allows the riding arena to be transformed into a massive theatre. Audiences will be enchanted by the charm and sense of humor displayed in both his donkey comedy and pony fantastique. Jahan patiently spent more than three years training his donkeys, who have become fan favorites in APASSIONATA. Showing his range as an equestrian, Laurent and his massive Breton, a stunning breed of draft horse, will also be performing the ultimate dressage movements that will amaze young and old alike.
Equipe the Gudmar Petursson Show Team, The Knights of Iceland
Gudmar and his team have been wowing audiences across the United States for over 10 years. Originally from Iceland, Gudmar began riding at age 5 and began winning competitions soon afterwards. He earned the highest degree awarded by equine college Holar University in Iceland, is a member of the professional trainers association of Iceland and holds the second highest number of Icelandic Championship titles ever. Gudmar teaches clinics all over the US and Iceland, and when not on tour, splits his time between his training and breeding farm in Iceland and his farm near Louisville, Kentucky where he has over 40 prized Icelandic horses.
This team of top voltigeurs — four French and three Ukrainian riders — comes together for special engagements and performances such as the North American tour of APASSIONATA_ The Beginning_. The riders in this group delight audiences with their breathtaking stunts and thrilling feats. Among their amazing acts is the stunning “Hungarian Post.” Together with their Azteca horses, they present this very difficult horse discipline with one rider standing on the backs of two horses while the horses simultaneously jump over rails.
The Daredevils are trained by Erik Hasta Luego of France. The Hasta Luegos have a long tradition with the European APASSIONATA tour where they continually impress audiences with their beautiful and spectacular show riding. Beloved in equestrian circles, the Hasta Luego family has traveled the world for over thirty years impressing horse lovers and the equine media with their artistic yet breathtaking riding performances. Together with their Lusitano thoroughbred stallions, they have collected coveted titles and awards since the 1970s.
For almost a decade this theatrical sensation, with original music scored specifically to work with the horses, has enchanted families and horse lovers alike with the finest horsemanship, including magnificent dressage and exhilarating stunt riding, highlighting the natural elegance, nobility, speed and agility of these animals. Thirteen different breeds — including Azteca, Appaloosa, Pura Raza Espanola (PRE), Friesian, a Breton Draft Horse, Purebred Arab, Welsh Arab, Hispano Arab, Lusitanos, Icelandic Horses, Miniature Horses, Shetland Ponies and a Donkey — have been brought together from Europe and North America to create this evocative, thrilling theatrical event, where everything from the courageous to the compassionate, and complex to the comic is observed.
Until APASSIONATA, horses had been seen by the public in competitive horse shows, dressage exhibitions, competitive racing, and American rodeos — but in APASSIONATA, creator/producer Peter Massine entirely re-envisioned how horses could be brought to the stage in a thrilling, dramatic and mesmerizing theatrical presentation.
When Massine originally created APASSIONATA, he sought out legendary horsemen and women of Europe, many of whom had spent their lives working with these animals or have continued the lineage of families that have worked with horses for generations. These equipes cross over many breeds of horses, and the wide range of how horse and man have interacted with each other.
“Although showmanship is an important component of APASSIONATA,” Massine said, “this isn’t just a show about what kind of tricks humans can train horses to do, or how fast they can be ridden, or how high can they jump. When I was a boy in Northern Germany, horses were a part of our everyday lives It was only later when I lived in cities, that I understood how important that connection with horses was to me as a child. If we could re-create the relationship between man and horse on stage, we would have the basis for a magnificent entertainment. And with the success we’ve had with this show so far, I think the public would agree.”